A recent article in the Echo reported that CastlePoint Council’s planning committee was between a rock and a hard place. They had no alternative but to approve the conversion of Hobson & Sons building into 30 flats totalling 51 bedrooms, though with only 30 unallocated parking spaces.
Hobsons was an office and wholesalers in Thundersley supplying the forces, police and all manner of uniformed organisations. It has never been a shop in the retail customer sense of the word.
They began business in 1850 at Woolwich near the barracks of the Royal Artillery. By 1900 Hobson and Sons had removed factory and offices to Tooley Street, Bermondsey. They arrived in Thundersley in the 1930s and used a disused church hall which they turned into a larger factory in the early 1950s. They also had a leather section which was in Lewisham. In the late 1970s they increased the Thundersley factory from 5,000 sq.ft. to 30,000 sq.ft. and had a world wide export market. All the various businesses of the firm were pulled into one place, Thundersley, in the 1990s. The firm is now in its 172nd year.
Hobson’s Group bought another specialist uniform company. Production and administration are now based at Garforth near Leeds.
A recent on-line discussion in Thundersley said that several locals are still employed to make items at home.